Stories of Struggle and Success in Our Schools

We are parents, teachers, students and community members with stories to tell. We want to rise above the politics and news headlines and talk about what’s working and what needs to improve for Chicago’s kids.

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Why Are Black Families Leaving Chicago? Maybe Our Kids Can’t Wait for Better Schools.

My hometown of Chicago has touted itself as a progressive city for many years. We’ve stood firm in our position as a sanctuary city and recently moved towards the legalization of marijuana—pushing a social equity initiative to ensure people in blighted areas have skin in the weed game. We even formed a progressive caucus within the city council in 2013. We also received national…

Our Kids Can’t Wait Till You Show Up for Them on Tuesday Night

Chicago, our kids can’t wait–and we’re not going to make them wait anymore, either.  Our kids can no longer wait on our city’s leadership or Chicago Public Schools to figure out how to close the opportunity gaps that exist between Black, Latino and White students. I recently wrote about brightbeam’s report, “The Secret Shame: How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray…

pie being sliced

If Student-Based Budgeting Is the Slicer, We Need a Bigger Pie

Chicago Public Schools recently wrapped up a series of workshops discussing how student-based budgeting works and asking parents, school leaders and community members for their ideas about how to make sure the neediest schools and students get an equitable share of funds. Critics charge the current budgeting process creates a vicious cycle of disinvestment when already under-resourced schools lose students.…

Redwood student

At Redwood Day, “Old-School” Phonics Helps Kids Love Reading

Editor’s note: Chicago Unheard contributor Sara Urben, a National Board Certified primary teacher and literacy coach, recently visited Redwood Day in Rogers Park to learn more about their work helping students with dyslexia learn to read well using systematic instruction in phonics. Sara sat in on a classroom and interviewed co-founder Kait Ferlante. Their conversation shows how teachers can connect…

Where’s the SQRP That Measures ‘Academic Gusto?’

To many parents, teachers and principals in Chicago Public Schools, the letters “SQRP” spell a four-letter word. SQRP–which stands for “School Quality Rating Policy“–has been a simmering issue for years, and it boiled up last June when Mayor Lightfoot’s newly appointed Board of Education approved tweaks proposed under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Currently, SQRP is the yardstick by which the…